Hello everyone! Happy Friday!

This fic was written for the Sherlock Mini Bang. My partner, allyearefallen, drew a companion piece to this. You can find it on her tumblr blog, allyearefallen: post/70621767758

Rated M for language and smut later on. There are also mentions of PTSD and bodily injury (not self-inflicted).


'Goodbye, John.'

'No. Don't.'

His heart stopped when his friend didn't answer, and then his arms were spread wide and he was leaning forward off the ledge.

'Sherlock!' he cried as his friend began plummeting toward the pavement. He stood rooted to his spot, frozen in shock as he watched Sherlock fall. He finally rushed forward when he heard a sickening crack, indicating Sherlock had landed on the pavement. He had to help his friend, he had to save him, but he couldn't reach him. It was like he was running in place, constantly running without gaining any distance, never moving closer to Sherlock. He couldn't get to him. Couldn't save him. Couldn't help his best friend.

John woke up in a cold sweat, his shoulder throbbing and his leg stiff and sore. Yet another nightmare. He used to dream about the war and the bloodshed and carnage and the pain of being shot. But now he dreamt about Sherlock's death and how useless and guilty he felt. He constantly thought about what would have happened if he had stayed with Sherlock, if he'd gotten back sooner, if he hadn't called him a machine. He cringed and rubbed a hand over his eyes. That still plagued him even half a year later. But he always wondered if he hadn't left Sherlock to deal with Moriarty on his own, maybe he would have been able to prevent Sherlock's death. Maybe he could have saved him. Maybe Sherlock wouldn't have killed himself. Or maybe Sherlock would have died somehow anyway and he John would have felt a thousand times guiltier than he already did.

John sighed and got out of bed, groaning when his leg protested with a shot of searing pain all down the appendage. He worked through it and made his way over to the wardrobe to get dressed for work. Thank God Sarah still put up with him. He didn't know where he'd be without her. They weren't together anymore, not since Moriarty first reared his ugly head, but Sarah was still a close friend and John was very grateful for that.

He skipped breakfast yet again and grabbed his cane on the way out the door. He'd bought a new flat, one that was closer to the surgery and far away from Baker Street. It was drab, much like his flat before moving into 221, and had a tiny kitchen, a tiny bathroom, and one small bedroom that doubled as his sitting room. It contained one uncomfortable bed, a more comfortable chair, and a desk where his laptop sat, ignored since he moved in a few months ago. He didn't want to face the comments on his blog, or the Internet in general. It would only do more harm than good.

Sarah greeted him at the lift when he arrived on their floor with a friendly smile and a cup of coffee. John gave her a fake smile back and accepted the coffee with a nod of his head, not wanting to speak. He hobbled off to his office and sat the coffee on his desk before pulling on his white coat. He didn't want to spill any coffee on it. He learned that lesson the hard way only a few days ago when he'd been lost in his memories and his hand has spasmed and he spilled the coffee he'd been holding all over himself. He shook his head of the memory and sat down at his desk, filling out his morning paperwork, sipping at his coffee idly. His first patient arrived an hour later. He feigned a smile and went about his day, tending to his patients and even offering a few second opinions on others. Sarah waved him off at the end of the day when he got in the lift to head back to his empty flat.

That pattern repeated every day for nearly three years. John would wake up, skip breakfast, go to work, come home, eat a meagre dinner, sometimes take a shower, and then go to bed. On his days off he would sometimes walk around downtown London, maybe visit a museum, or go to one of the many parks in the city to get some fresh air if the weather was decent. Other days he'd stay home and drink tea and sulk in self pity. And some days he wouldn't even get out of bed. While some days were better than others, John was always faking a smile as he tried not to drown in his depression.

On the third anniversary of Sherlock's death, John decided to not sulk in bed like he normally did. He decided he wanted to honour his friend, wanted to go out and remember Sherlock's life and not his death for once. He gave Angelo a call and reserved a table for later that night. He sat in his chair, thinking about all the crazy things he and Sherlock had done together. Chasing down that cab, dressing up as ninjas, getting drugged at Baskerville, running away from the police on numerous occasions. They lead some wild and crazy lives, but in the end they lived happy and fulfilling lives. Until Sherlock ended his. John closed his eyes and pressed the heels of his hands against his sockets, forcing himself not to think about the death.

When it was time to go he got dressed in his best suit and called a cab to take him to the restaurant. When he arrived, Angelo greeted him at the door, shaking his hand firmly before leading him to his and Sherlock's usual table. There were two places set, though one would never be filled again. John thanked him and sat down, staring at the menu for a while before deciding on his usual and ordering a bottle of wine for the table. He glanced over at the empty seat and sighed, missing his best friend terribly. Maybe going out to dinner hadn't been such a good idea after all. Angelo delivered the wine and smiled at John softly before disappearing. John poured himself a glass and raised it in a silent toast to the empty seat. To Sherlock.

He ate in silence, picking at his food and drinking more than he ate. When he finally finished his meal his head felt fuzzy from the alcohol. But there was something wrong with that feeling. He registered the familiar prickling at the back of his neck and realised what it was. He was being watched. Before he could turn to see who was staring at him, he heard a voice he thought he would never hear again.

'Hello, John.'

...::-::...

Sherlock had been back for months now, but he hadn't revealed himself to the one person he cared about most. Caring for someone other than himself was still new to him. Caring for someone so deeply that was. He knew he cared about Mrs Hudson, but she was like a mother to him so he cared for her on a completely different level than he did John.

John.

His John.

His wonderful, brilliant, illuminating John.

He had spent far too much time away from his friend. His best friend if he was being completely honest with himself. John was the best friend he'd ever had, and he'd lied to him for three years. And he had lied about the worst thing imaginable. So his hesitation to approach John right away was warranted.

He started with his brother, though he knew Mycroft already knew he was alive. His brother proved that theory correct as he was greeted with tea when he arrived at his manor. Sherlock should have known his brother knew when his missions became easier, the strings of Moriarty's web snapping off one after the other. While Sherlock was grateful for the assistance, especially near the end when the organisations and hired henchmen became harder to dismantle and kill, he would never tell Mycroft how much his help had been appreciated. Mycroft's private medical team tended to Sherlock's wounds and he was forced to stay at the manor for a few weeks while he recuperated and so the doctors could observe him.

When he was finally allowed to leave, Sherlock immediately returned to 221 Baker Street. Mrs Hudson wasn't in when he arrived, so he broke into 221 B and made himself at home.

The flat looked almost exactly as he remembered it. The two chairs were still in front of the fireplace, the skull was still on the mantle, the antelope skull still on the wall above the desk with his headphones still hung on its empty eye sockets, and even the smiley face was still on the wall above the sofa, though its colour had faded over the years. All of the sentiment weighed down on Sherlock's chest, making it harder to breathe. He swallowed thickly and glanced around the room once more. Everything was where it should have been, exactly where Sherlock had left it or where he would have wanted it to be. John and Mrs Hudson had not only left the flat alone, preserving it and its contents, but Mrs Hudson hadn't rented it out again. Mycroft must have paid her to keep the flat vacant. So there was a good chance his landlady suspected he was alive.

Sherlock looked to his bedroom and sighed. Would that have been left alone too? Or would it have been too painful for anyone to go in there to take care of it? He walked toward the door slowly, ignoring the kitchen as he knew all his science equipment would be gone. He stopped outside his bedroom door and grasped the doorknob. It was locked. Oh. They'd locked him away. They'd kept him from escaping. Kept his memory alive. He felt the weight on his chest increase again. Sentiment. He let go of the doorknob and went back to the sitting room, noticing clearly for the first time that it was clean. There wasn't a thick layer of dust on the furniture or the books, no musty smell to the chairs or sofa, and the curtains had been opened to let the light in. Mrs Hudson had been taking care of the flat for three years. Like she'd been anticipating his return. The weight on his chest forced Sherlock to sit down, his breath coming in shallow pants. He curled in on himself, hugging his knees to his chest, and pressed his forehead against his knees.

That was how Mrs Hudson found him nearly an hour later. She approached him slowly, as if to make sure he was real or that he wasn't going to leap out at her and scare her. She sat down in front of him and reached out to touch one of his hands. He looked up in shock, his eyes wide and rimmed with red. She smiled at him gently and squeezed his hand. He squeezed back, the corner of his mouth quirking up in a small smile.

'Hello again, dear,' Mrs Hudson said softly.

'Hello,' Sherlock croaked out, his voice cracking on the single word. Mrs Hudson squeezed his hand again and smiled warmly at him. Sherlock whimpered, actually whimpered, in despair and threw his arms around his landlady, pulling her in for a secure embrace. Mrs Hudson hugged him back just as hard, holding him tight as Sherlock shook in her arms, tears sliding down his cheeks. She began humming a soft song to him and rubbed his back tenderly as he continued to cry. They sat there on the floor for a while, Sherlock crying because of how much time he'd missed and how he'd truly ruined his friendship with John and all the time they hadn't been able to spend together and all the cases they hadn't worked together and most importantly all the time the spent together just at the flat in comfortable silence. Sherlock cried for a long time, choked sobs escaping his lips as he mourned his lost time with John. Slowly, his sobs turned into sniffles and shaking breaths, and he began to relax against Mrs Hudson who was still holding him. His grip slackened as he relaxed, his mind emotionally exhausted and draining his energy, telling him it was time to go to sleep. Mrs Hudson sensed that exhaustion and helped him up off the floor, Sherlock's lanky frame leaning against her petite one as she led him to his bedroom. She unlocked the door and followed Sherlock inside.

The room was exactly as Sherlock remembered, though it smelled a lot like cleaning products and not stale cigarettes anymore. Mrs Hudson took his scarf and coat and hung them on the back of the door. Sherlock stumbled over to his wardrobe and pulled out a pair of pyjama bottoms and a random t-shirt, not caring whether they matched or not. Mrs Hudson collected the clothes Sherlock left on the floor as he changed and she folded them neatly before putting them on the chair in the corner. Sherlock crawled into bed after pulling his shirt on, humming at the familiarity and comfort of his own bed. Mrs Hudson tucked him in and pressed a soft kiss to the top of his head.

'Get some rest, dear,' she whispered to him. 'I'll have breakfast ready for us in the morning.' Sherlock grunted in acknowledgment and burrowed in the blankets, a contented smile on his face as he fell asleep in his own bed for the first time in three years.


He wasn't sure how long he'd slept, he couldn't even remember what time it was when he'd gone to sleep, but when he woke the sun was streaming in through his window and he could smell the breakfast Mrs Hudson was cooking. The unmistakable scent of bacon travelled all the way upstairs, making his mouth water and his stomach growl, reminding him that he hadn't eaten in quite some time. He slowly got out of bed, his head pounding from the lack of food and too much sleep. He found a dressing gown laid out for him, probably by Mrs Hudson last night, and he pulled it on as he padded out of his room and went downstairs to his landlady's flat. He knocked on the door and she shouted for him to come on in. So he did.

Her flat smelled glorious. Bacon, eggs, and toast all mingled together to make her flat smell absolutely amazing. Sherlock's stomach growled again and he sat at the table. A glass of orange juice was placed in front of him and he smiled at Mrs Hudson gratefully. She grinned back and ruffled his hair before returned to her cooking. Sherlock drank the juice quickly, the beverage staving off his hunger for the time being. Then a cup of coffee materialised in front of him and he began sipping at it as it cooled.

'Sleep well, dear?' Mrs Hudson asked as she flipped the eggs.

'Like a rock,' Sherlock answered. 'I don't even remember dreaming.'

'That's the best kind of sleep,' Mrs Hudson chuckled. 'You looked absolutely knackered yesterday. I'm glad you were able to get some decent rest.'

'Me too,' Sherlock agreed. 'Um... How long was I asleep?' Mrs Hudson glanced at the clock.

'About sixteen hours,' she said after doing the math. 'I came home around three and found you shortly after. We sat on the floor for awhile before you started to fall asleep. You were in bed before five and asleep shortly after crawling into bed.'

'Oh.' Sherlock looked down at his coffee. 'Wow. I must have been really exhausted.'

'You looked it, dear.' Mrs Hudson put the eggs on their plates, the bacon and toast around them. Sherlock waited patiently, though his knee bounced in anticipation of the food. Mrs Hudson smiled at him as she sat his plate in front of him. He smiled back in thanks and managed to wait for her to sit down before digging into his food. Everything tasted delicious, especially after three years of barely eating. He hummed in appreciation and Mrs Hudson smiled at him sadly. She didn't ask about his time away, she didn't want to know what the poor man had gone through, so she respected his privacy until he was ready to talk, if ever. Sherlock was grateful for her not pestering him with questions, but he hated how silent it was.

'Say something,' he said softly. 'Please. I don't like the quiet.'

'Oh,' Mrs Hudson said softly. 'Alright. I'll turn the radio on.' She stood and grabbed her portable radio and brought it to the table. She tuned it to BBC Radio 1 and let the voices and songs fill the silence.

'Thank you,' Sherlock said softly.

'You're welcome, dear.' She continued eating, her foot occasionally tapping to the beat of the music. Sherlock let the noise sweep over him, sighing in relief. Three years of quiet nearly drove him insane. He never wanted to be in a prolonged silence ever again. He ate the rest of his food and drank his coffee, watching Mrs Hudson as she finished her own breakfast.

'You weren't surprised to find me in the flat yesterday,' Sherlock said, breaking their silence. 'Why?'

'Your brother paid rent for the flat in large chunks,' Mrs Hudson said. 'At first I thought he didn't want the flat to be sold, and deep down I think he didn't, but after a couple years of his paying the rent I suspected that you were still out there and he was waiting for you to come home. And so I was too. I wondered when you'd be coming back, and so I kept the flat tidy for when you'd return. It was a shock to finally see you back after so long, but it was a good kind of shock. It's wonderful to have you back home, dear.'

Sherlock smiled softly at her. 'While I appreciate you taking care of the flat whilst I was away, my brother is not a sentimental person. The only person he cares about is himself.'

'That isn't true,' Mrs Hudson said sternly. 'Why else would he have paid for the flat? Even while John was still living here? He wanted you to have somewhere to come home to so you wouldn't be stuck looking for a flat. This is your home, Sherlock, and it will continue to be your home for as long as I see fit. And if you pay the rent on time.'

Sherlock chuckled softly and looked up at Mrs Hudson with sad eyes. 'When did John leave?' he asked softly.

'A few months after you died,' Mrs Hudson stated. 'I've visited him at his flat a few times. It's small and drab, but he's doing well. Apart from the limp that is.'

'His limp came back?' Sherlock asked, a lump rising in his throat.

'Yes,' Mrs Hudson said sadly. 'But he doesn't let it get in the way of his work. He's still at the surgery. His flat is within walking distance so it doesn't put strain on his leg and he doesn't have to spend a lot of money on cabs or the tube to get there.'

'Oh. Good. That's, um... good,' Sherlock said lamely. 'I'm glad he's doing well for himself.'

'You can go visit him,' Mrs Hudson said bluntly. 'He deserves to know you're alive.'

'I know,' Sherlock sighed. 'I just... I'm scared, Mrs Hudson. Scared he'll reject me or hate me or never want to see me again. What I did was unforgivable. I don't want to lose his friendship.'

'John won't hate you, dear,' Mrs Hudson said softly. 'He'll be mad and upset, but he won't hate you.'

'You can't know that,' Sherlock mumbled.

'No, but I know John. And he won't hate you because he cares about you too much.'

Sherlock scoffed and shook his head.

'You don't believe me?' Mrs Hudson asked.

'Not really, but I know John thought I was utterly brilliant.'

'He adored you and probably put you on too high a pedestal, but you were his best friend and he misses you terribly.'

Sherlock chuckled softly. 'He definitely put me on too high a pedestal. But does he really miss me that much?'

'He visits your grave every Friday after work. You can go observe him tomorrow when he gets out at seven.'

'Oh.' Sherlock frowned and stared at his lap. 'I feel like such a dick.'

'You probably are,' Mrs Hudson chuckled. Sherlock gasped and looked up at her before laughing too.

'Thank you,' he chuckled. 'I needed that.'

'You're welcome, dear.'

Sherlock sighed and stood up, stretching slightly. 'I'm going to clean up and get dressed. I need to visit Molly and Lestrade and let them know I'm back.'

'Oh? Does that Lestrade fellow know you faked your death?'

'No, but Molly does. She... helped me.'

Mrs Hudson nodded and stood up herself. 'You go get cleaned up. I'll take care of things down here.'

Sherlock nodded and went upstairs to shower, taking his time to savour the hot water while it lasted. He got out and shook out his curls, droplets of water spraying everywhere. He left it alone and went into his bedroom to get dressed, picking out an old t-shirt, a fuzzy hoodie, and a pair of blue jeans. He missed his suits already, but that was what he had on hand at the moment. He'd have to go shopping for clothes later. And convince his tailor to take him back too. Maybe he could get a 'Back from the Dead' special? He shrugged and grabbed his mobile, saying a quick goodbye to Mrs Hudson before heading off to Bart's to visit Molly.


Molly was on her lunch break when the man came in. He was walking around the morgue like he owned the place, but he was dressed like a juvenile teenager. Molly bristled and stormed out of her office. No one, bar one man, got to traipse around her morgue.

'Hey!' she shouted. 'What the hell are you doing here? How did you get in without an access code?'

'Oh, Molly,' the man sighed, a familiar baritone rumbling from his throat. 'You really should know me better by now.'

'Sherlock?!' Molly screeched.

Sherlock turned around and grinned at Molly smugly. 'Hello, Molly. Nice to see you again.'

Molly stared at Sherlock, mouth agape.

'What?' Sherlock said nonchalantly. 'No "Hello"? No "Nice to see you again"? No "Good, you're not dead"?'

'Hello. Nice to see you again,' Molly said dryly. She walked up to Sherlock and gave him a shove. 'Good. You're not dead.'

Sherlock laughed, actually laughed. Molly scowled at him and shoved him again.

'You're a right git, Sherlock Holmes.'

'I know.'

Molly pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. Sherlock chuckled and ruffled her hair. Molly blinked in surprise.

'You changed,' she said softly. 'You aren't normally so... cheery. Or touchy.'

'War changes a man,' Sherlock said, entirely serious.

'War?' Molly squeaked out.

'Yes. I was at war, Molly. A one man army against Moriarty's web of crime,' Sherlock explained.

'Just you?' Molly asked softly. 'All by yourself?'

'Well, only until Mycroft began offering his assistance,' Sherlock told her. 'It was only a matter of time until he figured things out. I never could fool him for long.'

Molly nodded minutely and stared down at her feet. 'Good. I'm glad you're OK.'

'I am as well.' Sherlock smiled down at her. 'Thank you for your help.'

Molly laughed and looked up at him. 'Really? First a hair ruffle and now a thank you? You really have changed.'

'For the better I hope.'

'I think so.'

'Good.'

'Good.'

They smiled at each other awkwardly, Molly's arms wrapping tighter around her body.

'Well,' Sherlock said, breaking the silence. 'I should get going. I need to get to the Yard to see Lestrade.'

'Ah. Right. OK,' Molly said lamely. Sherlock chuckled and kissed the top of her head. Molly almost jumped - almost - at the unexpected and tender touch. She looked up at Sherlock, her eyes wide and unblinking. Sherlock chuckled again and shook his head.

'I'll see you again, Molly,' he said. 'And congratulations.' He pointed to the engagement ring on her finger and she blushed.

'Thank you,' she said softly. 'You'd approve of him. He's not a psychopathic killer and he treats me right.'

'Good. You deserve to be happy, Molly.'

'Thank you,' she said again, her cheeks flushing in slight embarrassment.

'I'll tell Lestrade you send your love,' Sherlock said, smirking when Molly's eyes widened.

'How—?'

'Your face flushed when I mentioned his name and your rigid posture relaxed as well. You began twiddling the ring and your pupils have dilated slightly.' Molly swallowed thickly. 'Congratulations again. Lestrade is... he's a good man. You'll be happy together.'

'Thank you,' Molly choked out. 'It means a lot that you've given us your blessing.'

'It's not a blessing,' Sherlock scoffed. 'I'm merely saying I'm happy for you both.'

'That's a blessing coming from you,' Molly said. 'So thank you.'

'You're welcome.' Sherlock swallowed and looked away. 'Well, I should go visit your husband-to-be. I'll see you later, Molly.'

'See you later, Sherlock,' Molly said as he left.


Greg was swamped with paperwork. His officers kept making simple mistakes during arrests and the paperwork kept piling up. He ran his hands through his greying hair. He needed a drink that wasn't tea or coffee. He groaned when his door opened and shut with a thud.

'Donovan, unless you're bringing me coffee spiked with whisky, I don't want to hear it,' he growled. He glowered at the figure standing by his door and felt a wave of déjà vu sweep over him. Sherlock stepped forward and looked down at Lestrade with a slight air of respect, not smug satisfaction or superiority.

'Hello, Lestrade,' he said gently.

'Sherlock?' Greg gaped at the man, taking in his appearance. His very much alive and not dead appearance at that.

'Yes,' Sherlock answered simply.

'What? How-? I don't- What?' Greg stammered out.

'I faked my death,' Sherlock explained. 'I had some help. Your fiancé's help. Congratulations by the way. But I digress. I faked my death to go after Moriarty's crime web. And I've succeeded, as you can see, and I've returned.'

Greg stared at Sherlock, blinking rapidly. Sherlock stared back, giving the DI time to absorb things. Greg stared at Sherlock for ten whole minutes before he finally spoke.

'So... you faked your death... for three years... and now you've come back.'

'Obviously,' Sherlock scoffed. Greg scowled at him.

'What exactly were you doing for three years?' he asked sternly.

'I killed people,' Sherlock stated bluntly. 'I dismantled the criminal web under Moriarty's power. And now I'm back to fix things here.'

'Fix what?' Greg spat.

'John,' Sherlock said softly. 'Mrs Hudson says he took my death hard. That his limp has come back. And while I have yet to approach him-'

'You haven't told him yet?' Greg screeched, interrupting Sherlock.

'No,' Sherlock said slowly. 'I thought it'd be better to-'

'Better to what?' Greg spat. 'Better to let him suffer longer? Better to keep him in the dark?'

'Better to work up the nerve to talk to him!' Sherlock yelled at the DI. 'Because I'm scared, Lestrade! I'm scared that he's going to reject me or hate me or want nothing to do with me! John is my best friend. I can't lose him. I can't.'

Greg blinked and stared at Sherlock again. That was the most emotion he'd ever seen Sherlock show. His time away had really changed him. Greg stood and walked over to Sherlock and placed a hand on his shoulder. Sherlock flinched at the touch but didn't remove the hand.

'I'm sorry for snapping,' Greg said softly. 'And I'm sorry you're scared about confronting John. But don't put it off for too long. He should know you're back. Just be prepared for his temper.'

Sherlock chuckled and nodded. 'Oh yes. The Tiny Tyrant. I missed that passion. John is a good man. No. A great man. And I like to think he's made me a better person.'

'He certainly had a big influence on you. You changed a lot in the year-and-a-half you lived together. He was very good for you.'

Sherlock nodded in agreement. 'Yeah. Well, I should go. Mrs Hudson's expecting me for dinner.'

Greg nodded and squeezed Sherlock's shoulder before letting it go. Sherlock gave him a small smile before taking his leave.

'Ah. Hello, Donovan,' Sherlock said when he stepped out of Lestrade's office. Greg perked up and smirked. 'And your ever faithful dog Anderson. Condolences on the divorce, but I'm sure your wife is happier without you.' Sherlock waved as he dashed off, leaving a stunned Donovan and Anderson in the hallway. Greg doubled over laughing in his office.


Friday morning, Sherlock lay in bed curled on his side. He couldn't get Mrs Hudson's words out of his head. Did John really visit his grave every Friday? He was almost too scared to go find out, but his desire to see John was too strong. He ate a meager breakfast with Mrs Hudson and spent the rest of the day playing his violin until the clock chimed six. Sherlock hurriedly got dressed and dashed out to get a cab. He made it to the cemetery by 6:30 p.m., giving him plenty of time to find a spot to observe John at his grave.

He managed to find the same bench he'd been sitting on three years ago when he'd watched John say goodbye to him. He sat down and waited, swallowing down around the lump that had formed in his throat. John arrived in a cab ten minutes after he got out of work. Sherlock's breath hitched in his throat. John spoke to the cabbie for a moment, probably telling him to wait a few minutes. He then began hobbling toward Sherlock's grave, his leg stiff from the workday and not sleeping properly.

He's so skinny, Sherlock thought despondently to himself. John looked like he'd lost about two stones since he'd seen him last, his jumpers even baggier on him than usual, and his face looked almost hollow and sunken in. Sherlock swallowed guiltily, knowing the loss was because of John's grief for him. John approached the headstone and paused in front of it, staring down at the name of his friend before speaking.

'Hello,' he said to Sherlock's headstone. 'Sorry for not visiting last week. I worked overtime, which we both know I desperately need. Um... I can't stay long unfortunately. I'm bloody exhausted and I'll be sleeping a good long while. That is if the nightmares don't wake me every few hours. They're getting worse these days. They always do around this time of year. Around the anniversary of... yeah. Um... I've got to go. I'll be back next week and on the day you... left.' He stepped forward and gently touched the top of the headstone. He whispered something Sherlock couldn't hear and smoothed his hand over the top of the stone, like he was petting it. Like he was petting Sherlock's hair.

Sherlock swallowed down around the lump in his throat again. He watched John stand from his crouch with a groan and head back to the cab. Sherlock watched him leave, waiting until he'd left the cemetery before he stood and wandered over to his grave. The flowers were well tended, Mrs Hudson's doing probably, the black stone still shiny and clean except where John had just pet it and... kissed it? There were lip prints on the top right corner of the stone, where Sherlock's left temple would be if the stone did indeed represent his head to John. If that was the case, and it probably was, after John had pet his hair he'd kissed the spot on his forehead where his migraines affected him the worst.

'Oh, John,' Sherlock sighed. 'My beautiful, wonderful, sentimental John.' He shook his head and glanced down at the dates on the stone. His birthday and his death day. The only birthday he'd ever celebrated because John had been insistent, and he'd faked his death only a few short months later. And here he was, staring at his own grave, just two short weeks away from the anniversary of his death.

Sherlock decided that he would approach John on the anniversary of his death, reveal himself to make the date not only when he'd died but when he was resurrected.

With that plan in motion, Sherlock dashed out of the cemetery and hailed a cab back to Baker Street.


Sherlock observed John every day for the next two weeks, keeping track of his movements, habits, and anything and everything John did. Sherlock could always tell when John had had a bad night's rest. Not only did his eyes look bloodshot and exhausted, but his limp was always worse and his shoulder stiff. He always carried himself differently when he shoulder was hurting.

Seeing John in pain and continuing to suffer, not knowing of Sherlock's continued existence, made Sherlock's heart clench and a lump rise in his throat. Just a few more days and he'd reveal himself. In the meantime, he bought new clothes and had them all dry cleaned and tailored to fit his lanky frame. His tailor was more than happy to have him back. Mycroft must have told him of his return as the man didn't even flinch when Sherlock walked into his shop.

Finally, the anniversary of his death arrived. Sherlock dressed in his best clothes and put on his great coat. He wasn't sure why he was being so picky about his appearance, but he wanted John to recognise him. Not that he wouldn't, but he wanted John to see he was the same Sherlock he remembered.

John had the day off and he spent most of his time in his flat. Sherlock watched him through the surveillance cameras he'd had installed in the sitting room and the kitchen. John mainly puttered about making tea and toast and sitting in his chair, his leg propped up on the table to take some strain off it. Around six o'clock John got up and went into his bedroom. When he came out he was wearing a suit. A real suit. It was a deep rich brown, the shirt a beautiful dark blue, and he'd even shaved and tidied up his hair. Sherlock's heart warmed at the sight. John looked amazing. Rather dashing even. John grabbed his wallet and keys and shuffled out of the flat. Sherlock grabbed his mobile and turned off the cameras in John's flat. He dashed out of 221 Baker Street and walked to Angelo's. Where else would John go to remember Sherlock's death? Well... and he'd heard John making reservations earlier.

His plan was to stand in the alley by 22 Northumberland Street, where the cabbie had been instructed to go in their first case together. He bought coffee to help keep himself warm and sat down against the wall, pretending to be a homeless person so John wouldn't notice him yet. He'd received five pounds from passersby by the time John arrived.

He looked worse since he'd left. Probably from lack of sleep and memories of the day. By the time John had gotten inside the restaurant, Sherlock's entire body was twitching with anxiety and anticipation. Sherlock had earned another three pounds by the time John had ordered and two more when his food arrived. Finally, John finished his meal and just sat at the table, drinking his wine. Sherlock knew there would never be another opportunity better than that. He stood and pocketed the money he'd earned and tossed his empty cup of coffee in a bin.

Sherlock walked inside the restaurant and smiled at Angelo softly. the man blinked and stared at him, his mouth hanging open in shock. Sherlock held a finger to his lips and continued toward John, ignoring the stares of the other patrons. He saw John's muscles tense when he stopped behind him, his soldier instincts kicking in. Sherlock smiled fondly. Before John had a chance to turn around, Sherlock spoke.

'Hello, John.'

...::-::...

John dropped the glass of wine he was holding, the fragile glass shattering as it hit the floor, wine splattering everywhere. He slowly turned around, his eyes wide and unblinking, his left hand trembling, and his posture rigid. His breath caught in his throat and his heart stopped when he gazed upon Sherlock Holmes for the first time in three years.

Sherlock didn't dare smile lest John see something that wasn't there. Instead, he stayed still, his eyes following John as he stood on shaky legs and faced him. John reached up hesitantly to touch the man before him. He sucked in a deep breath when his fingers felt the soft fabric of the great coat. Sherlock reached out to touch John's fingers. It was a horrible mistake. John gasped and collapsed in his chair, his body trembling as his PTSD became quite severe.

'Oh shit,' Sherlock swore. He knelt by John and squeezed his knee and shoulder, hoping John would calm down when he realised he wasn't hallucinating.

'John,' Sherlock said softly. 'John. Breathe. It's alright. I'm here. I'm back. Breathe, John. Calm down. It's OK now. I'm here. I'm here.'

John's breathing did calm, but his shaking didn't. He squeezed his eyes shut and focused on Sherlock's deep, calm, wonderful, familiar voice. His shaking eased except in his left hand, but that was pretty much normal by now. Sherlock's hand slipped from John's shoulder and down his arm, where he gently squeezed the muscle there. John flinched and reacted before he could think. His fist collided with Sherlock's nose, the younger man toppling back to land on his bum.

'You fucking bastard!' John screamed at him. 'Three years! Three god damn years! You lied to me and let me mourn you for three fucking years! Why the fuck didn't you tell me? Why? Why let me suffer?'

'I had no choice,' Sherlock groaned out, his nose bleeding heavily. 'You had a sniper trained on you. I didn't want to risk losing you.'

John laughed, but there was no mirth in it.

'Fuck you,' he spat. 'Don't fucking follow me.' He grabbed his cane and stormed out of the restaurant, leaving Sherlock behind. Angelo went over to him and helped him up, offering him a warm, damp cloth to clean up the blood.

'Are you alright?' he asked.

'I'm fine,' Sherlock said dismissively. He accepted the cloth and pressed it under his nose. 'Surprisingly, that went better than expected.'

'But he punched you and screamed at you,' Angelo protested.

'He could have attempted to strangle me,' Sherlock pointed out. 'Or broken something. I'm still in one piece. I'm fine. Better than I thought I would be.'

'I can't believe this was a best case scenario for you,' Angelo said. 'How's the nose?'

'Sore, but OK.' Sherlock handed Angelo the cloth back. 'Thanks. I should head home and clean up.'

'You're welcome. Come back anytime.'

'I will,' Sherlock promised. He adjusted his scarf and took his leave, heading back to Baker Street for the night. He cleaned himself up and changed into his favoured pyjamas and dressing gown. He played a tense song on his violin for hours, his worry about what John would do pouring out through his fingertips.

The ball was in John's court. Now Sherlock had no choice but to wait.

...::-::...

John sat and stewed for two weeks. Only twice did he not make it to work, and those were only the two days after Sherlock had approached him. He hadn't told Sarah the truth about why he was skipping, making up a vague excuse about his leg cramping up on him or his shoulder being especially pained that day. But he made it back and acted as if nothing had ever happened. He was still utterly fuming though, and part of him didn't want to speak to or see Sherlock again, but another part was saying he should at least hear why he was gone and why he didn't tell him he was still alive. After nearly a month, John finally listened to the second part of himself.

He got a cab to Baker Street and stood on the kerb when he arrived. He stared up at the windows that revealed the sitting room, a curtain blowing in the breeze. So... Sherlock was home. Jesus. He was actually back. John swallowed thickly and walked up to the door. He raised a hand to knock but froze. He wasn't ready to face Sherlock just yet. He needed to talk to someone else first.

He turned and walked down the alley toward Mrs Hudson's kitchen door. He could hear BBC Radio 1 playing, the voices echoing out through the window and filling her kitchen, floating out around the alley. He smiled softly and knocked on her door. She turned the radio down and opened it, a warm smile on her face.

'Oh. Hello, dear,' she said, slightly surprised to see him.

'Hi, Mrs H,' John said softly. 'Um... I'd like to talk to you about something. Well... someone.'

'Is this about Sherlock?' she asked softly.

'Yes,' John whispered. He looked down at his shoes and sighed.

'Well, there might be a problem with that,' Mrs Hudson said quietly.

'What?' John looked up and caught sight of a mass of dark curls. He swallowed and looked back to Mrs Hudson. Sherlock sighed and stood, smoothing out his dressing gown. John noted his nose was still slightly bruised, which made him smirk in satisfaction. Sherlock left without a word, leaving John and Mrs Hudson to talk about him. Mrs Hudson ushered John inside and offered him tea and biscuits.

'Thank you,' John said softly, accepting the tea and munching on a biscuit. 'Sorry about that. I just wanted to talk to you before I talked to him.'

'It's fine, dear. I understand.'

'It's been a month since he came back, and I'm still angry. I just... I feel like he just abandoned me. Abandoned us. When he approached me after three years of grief... I thought he was just a vision in my head. That I'd finally gone mad with grief. But he could touch me, and I him, and I just... I probably overreacted, but it was warranted.'

'You hit him in the nose,' Mrs Hudson said, chuckling. 'I know. I helped clean it and take care of it.'

'Sorry about that,' John said sheepishly.

'It's alright, dear,' she assured him. 'It wasn't too bad. Just needed some ice and then a warm cloth. It wasn't broken either.'

'Oh. I was kind of hoping it would have been,' John joked lightly.

'Just a sprain,' Mrs Hudson chuckled.

'Damn,' John said with a smirk.

'You should go talk to him now. He's been getting more and more anxious, waiting to see if or when you'd come here. Just go talk. I'll let you two be alone. I have a bit of shopping to do anyway.'

'Oh. OK. Sure.' John stared at the remains of his tea and sighed. He drank what was left and stood. 'Thank you.'

'You're quite welcome. And you're welcome for the tea, too.' She smiled and stood to hug John. 'Be kind to each other. You've both been through a lot.'

'Right.' John didn't let go of her for a few moments. When he did, he was shaking slightly.

'You're going to be alright, dear. I promise,' Mrs Hudson said softly. John nodded and moved to walk away, but he paused before he got to her door.

'Mrs H? Why was Sherlock here?' he asked softly, turning back to look at her.

'He doesn't like to be alone,' she answered honestly. 'And he doesn't like the quiet. So he visits often and we talk and have tea and listen to the radio.'

'Oh.' John's face fell slightly. He'd never imagined Sherlock to be afraid of anything. He must have experienced some serious shit during his three years away.

'Be kind to him,' Mrs Hudson told him softly. 'And to yourself.'

'Alright.' John kissed her cheek and left her flat. He stared at the stairs that lead up to 221B for a long time. He ascended them slowly, not wanting to storm up and ruin everything. The door to the sitting room was closed, slightly muffled radio music coming from behind it. John swallowed and raised his hand to knock softly.


John had come. John had finally come!

Sherlock had hated to leave, but he knew John needed to speak to Mrs Hudson. He took his tea and biscuits with him and slunk up to his sitting room. He closed the door behind him and curled up in his chair. He munched on a biscuit and stared at the skull on the mantle.

'He's here,' he muttered to it. 'That's all that matters, Billy. He's here.'

Billy didn't answer. Typical. Sherlock finished his tea before the silence became too much to bear. He opened his laptop and began live-streaming BBC Radio 1. They were playing Muse at the moment (according to the online player. Sherlock certainly didn't listen to the band. Nope.), the sounds of the guitar and Matt Bellamy's signature voice filling the empty sitting room. He sat curled up in his chair for a good half hour, not listening to the music but allowing it to fill the silence while he waited for John to come up.

His month of waiting had been excruciating. He knew John would need time to think things over, to come to terms with what Sherlock had done... but he never expected it to take so long. Why couldn't things just go back to how they were? Why couldn't John just live with him again? Why couldn't John just forgive him and they could be happy? Well... in a manner of speaking. Why couldn't they just go back to normal? Sherlock desperately needed things to go back to normal. The waiting for John was driving him crazier than the constant silence and the nightmares combined. The nightmares hadn't started until after he'd approached John, and they were always the same. John rejecting him, John never talking to him again, John moving on with his life as if Sherlock had never existed. Sherlock always woke in a cold sweat, a scream dying in his throat. He never allowed himself to scream. It would be pointless to scream outside the dream. Instead he would hug a pillow close and pretend it was a warm body, the fantasy lulling him back to sleep until the nightmares came again.

Sherlock was startled out of his reverie by a soft knock on the door.

John.

'Come in,' Sherlock choked out. He slipped out of his fetal position just as John opened the door and slowly stepped inside. Sherlock swallowed and stared at John, the older man staring right back at him. No one said anything for a while, only the sounds of the radio filling the uncomfortable silence.

Finally, John closed the door with a resounding click and that seemed to make the men want to speak at the same time.

'You're a right git—'

'I'm so sorry—'

'Three years—'

'I had no choice—'

'I thought you were dead—'

'It was necessary—'

'I buried you—'

'I had to keep you safe!'

That shut John up. He stared at Sherlock and slowly approached the back of his old armchair. He sucked in a deep breath and let it out forcefully through his nose before he spoke again.

'You had to keep me safe?' he repeated. 'From what? Or whom?'

'You had a sniper trained on you,' Sherlock said softly. 'Moriarty told me the only friends I had in the world would die if I didn't.'

'So you faked your death in order to cheat Moriarty out of his victory?'

'Yes. And he ended up killing himself in front of me before I jumped.'

'Who else was being threatened?'

'Mrs Hudson and Lestrade.'

'Oh.' John's face fell. 'Oh god.'

Sherlock merely grunted in agreement. 'So you see? I had to fake my death so I could keep the few people I actually care about alive.'

'What exactly did you do for three years then?' John huffed. 'And why couldn't you come back after you faked your death?'

'The snipers were still out there, John,' Sherlock scoffed. 'I couldn't risk any of you getting hurt before my job was done.'

'And what was your so called job?'

'I was tracking down and dismantling Moriarty's web of crime,' Sherlock stated. 'I've killed more people than I can count, I've broken my ribs five times, once I even broke my arm at the elbow and that was a bitch to heal, and I've been shot and stabbed and cut and—'

'Stop,' John said, holding up a hand to silence Sherlock. He lowered the hand when Sherlock shut his mouth and stared at him, his jaw tense. 'You didn't contact any of us for three years, didn't ask me or Lestrade or your brother for help for three years, and you came back barely alive!'

'I had Mycroft's help!' Sherlock yelled. 'He gave me assistance, both armed forces and medical, after he figured out that I'd faked my death.'

'Oh, so Mycroft knew?!' John screeched. 'That rat bastard! I'll kill him!'

'He has nothing to do with this!' Sherlock cried. 'This is about us!'

'Us?!' John rounded on Sherlock and growled. 'There is no us! There hasn't been for a very long time!'

Sherlock's face fell and he stared off into space, his eyes glazing over. There was no dynamic duo anymore? No more Holmes and Watson? No more Detective and Blogger? No more Hat-man and Robin? He cringed internally at the name but it was exactly what they were. They came as a pair, they were partners, and there was no Sherlock without John. He sucked in a shaky breath as he came back to Earth, something pulling him back. He could make out a voice saying his name and something touching his knee and parts of his arms and occasionally his face. He blinked and looked down at the blurred figure kneeling in front of him.

'Sherlock?' John said softly, his hand squeezing the younger man's shoulder. 'Come on. Come back. That's it.' He smiled softly when Sherlock's eyes focused on him. 'Hey. You OK? Where'd you go?'

'Nowhere important,' Sherlock mumbled. 'Just... if there isn't going to be an us anymore I'd like you to leave. Please.'

John frowned and squeezed Sherlock's hand. Sherlock's fingers slowly closed around John's and squeezed back.

'I never said there wouldn't be an us again, Sherlock,' John said softly. 'I just need time to adjust to you being back, OK? I'll work my way up to working cases with you again, but it might be a while. Just know that I'm not going anywhere, alright? I'll be here.'

'Good,' Sherlock choked out. John, not letting go of Sherlock's hand, pulled him in for a soft hug, his free hand rubbing Sherlock's back.

'It's going to be OK,' he said softly. 'We'll just take things slow and see how it goes, alright?'

'Alright,' Sherlock whispered. 'Alright.'

They stayed like that for a while, just holding onto one another. It wasn't until they heard the front door open and close that they realised they'd been hugging for a good half hour. John pulled away, his knees protesting from kneeling for so long, and he had a kink in his back from being bent over. Sherlock swallowed and looked away, his cheeks flushing as the awkwardness of the situation set in. John stood and stretched out his back.

'Fancy some tea?' he asked. Sherlock merely nodded. John put the kettle on and grabbed two mugs and two bags of tea. He steeped the tea for a couple minutes before returning to Sherlock. He'd pulled his knees to his chest and he was muttering unintelligibly to himself. John sat his mug of tea by his elbow and sat down in his familiar chair. Sherlock didn't touch the tea, just sat stock still like a statue, and stared off into space. John just sat with him, knowing it would be best to remain as long as he could so Sherlock wouldn't have some sort of episode that he was clearly on the verge of having.

Slowly Sherlock began to come out of his trance, his muscles relaxing and his legs slowly sliding down until his feet were on the floor. He grabbed his mug and gulped the lukewarm liquid down, the taste comforting and helped bring him back down to Earth. John smiled at him softly and took the mug from him.

'Thanks,' Sherlock croaked out.

'You're welcome,' John said softly. He put the mugs in the sink and turned to observe Sherlock from the kitchen. He looked... haunted. John was all too familiar with that and he knew what it could do to a man. Sherlock looked up at him and blinked.

'What?' he asked.

'Nothing,' John said automatically. 'No. It's not nothing. You look haunted, Sherlock. Worse than you did when you thought you saw a gigantic hound at Baskerville. What happened while you were away?'

'I told you,' Sherlock muttered quietly. 'I killed people.'

'Jesus,' John breathed out. He approached Sherlock slowly and knelt down beside him again, his knees popping in protest. 'Sherlock, listen to me, OK? I know what you're going through. I went through it when I returned from Afghanistan and when you died and when you came back. It's shock and PTSD. I highly suggest you get some medication and see a therapist. Please? I don't want you going back to drugs or any other addictive substance.'

'I can't,' Sherlock whispered.

'Why?' John asked softly.

'I just can't.'

'For me?' Sherlock looked up at John and swallowed. He nodded softly before looking away.

'OK,' John sighed. 'You should call Mycroft. He can set you up with the best people. Just don't yell at the therapist or call him or her an idiot or any other rude thing. Please talk about what happened before you do something drastic.'

'Like what? Kill myself for real?' Sherlock scoffed.

'Yes,' John said softly. Sherlock swallowed and covered his face with his hands. That was a stupid thing to say. John grabbed his hands and dragged them away from his face.

'Hey. Don't be like that. Don't hide from me anymore. Stay with me. Don't go inside your head. Stay here.' Sherlock flicked his eyes over to John and focused on his voice, his face, his sandy blonde hair speckled with grey. The memories didn't drag him down and suffocate him. He thought of John, of his laugh and his sighs of frustration and his occasional happy giggles. He squeezed John's hands to keep himself grounded and John squeezed back.

'It's going to be OK, Sherlock,' John said softly.

'Will you move back in?' Sherlock whispered.

'Maybe,' John said softly. 'Not right away. But maybe after I wrap my head around you being back. But yeah, eventually I can see myself moving back in here.'

Sherlock nodded and let go of John's hands. He knew John had to leave, could read it in his posture. He turned away and grabbed the skull, balancing it on his knees as John stood up.

'Here's my new mobile number if you need me for anything,' John said, pulling his business card out of his wallet. 'And only call my work number in case of an emergency, alright?'

Sherlock took the card and pocketed it, still staring at the skull.

'Sherlock, please acknowledge that you heard me.'

Sherlock grunted and closed his eyes. John sighed. Sherlock smirked.

'Alright. Fine. Be a grump. But still call me if you need anything.'

'Can I call you if I have a case?'

'Sure, but I hold the right to say no to joining you.'

'Fair enough.' Sherlock stood and put Billy back on the mantle. He looked down at John and smiled softly. 'It was good to have a proper talk, John. I hope we'll see each other again soon.'

'Me too.' John smiled at Sherlock and shook his head. 'You're still a git.'

'Yet you tolerate me anyway.' John laughed and nodded.

'I'll see you later, Sherlock,' he said. He walked back to the door and opened it, Sherlock following him. 'Sherlock, wha—' John was cut off by Sherlock hugging him tightly, his long arms wrapping around him in a warm embrace. John responded automatically, hugging Sherlock back just as tightly. Sherlock pulled away and smiled down at John.

'Yes. I'll see you later, John.' He lead the doctor downstairs and out of the flat, waving as John walked down the pavement.

'Glad to see you walking without your cane!' he called after John, a stupid, smug grin on his face. John flipped him the bird and laughed.

'Git!' he called back.

Sherlock shook his head and closed the door, walking back up to his sitting room and sprawling out on the sofa, enjoying the crisp breeze coming in through the window. He closed his eyes and sighed happily, a content smile on his face. They were going to be OK. Finally, they were going to be OK.

...::-::...

A week later Sherlock texted John about a double homicide, asking for his medical expertise because Anderson was being incompetent as usual. John chuckled and texted Sherlock he'd be over as soon as he could. Sherlock gave him the address of the scene and John hailed a cab after he finished his lunch. Sherlock solved the case quickly after John arrived, calling him once again a brilliant conductor of light. John blushed. They waved goodbye after the criminal was apprehended. It was weird to be going separate ways after solving a crime, but John was still apprehensive about moving back in with Sherlock.

Sherlock would text John about cases and sometimes ask about how he coped with PTSD and what some of his calming methods were. Usually John would oblige Sherlock and join him on the case, but sometimes he would say he was busy or that he couldn't because he was at work. But he always had time to answer Sherlock's questions about how to cope with PTSD and always answered his phone in the middle of the night when Sherlock called after having a nightmare. John knew all too well how bad those PTSD induced nightmares could be, and so he was always there for Sherlock when he needed him most. On a few occasions he got a cab to Baker Street and he made Sherlock tea and they would sit on the sofa, Sherlock leaning against John as he calmed down, John's arm around his waist or shoulders. Sherlock almost always fell asleep slumped against John's side, but John never complained. Sherlock was a heavy sleeper when he actually slept, so it was rather easy for John to carry him back to bed and tuck him in before going back to his own flat.

This went on for three months before Sherlock couldn't take it anymore. He sent John a text, telling him he needed him at Baker Street at once. John responded quickly, saying he'd visit on his lunch break. Sherlock told him to hurry.

When John finally arrived he rushed upstairs and burst into the sitting room. Sherlock was pacing the floor, wringing his hands together nervously.

'Sherlock?' John said, slightly startling the man out of his thoughts. 'What's wrong?'

'I need you to move back in,' Sherlock said bluntly. He stopped pacing and turned to look at his blogger, still clad in his white doctor robe.

'Need me to?' John asked. 'Or want me to?'

'I need you to move back in,' Sherlock repeated, stressing the word 'need.' John looked at him blankly. Sherlock sighed and began muttering to himself.

'Are you really going to make me say it?' he grumbled. 'John...' He looked up at the man in question and swallowed. 'John, you have to come back. It's... It's lonely here without you. Mrs Hudson and I can only talk about so much and for so long. The radio doesn't cut it anymore. I need a real live person to talk to. And Billy is no help at all. He just sits there, staring at nothing. I... The flat is empty without you here, John. It feels dead. There's no life without you here. So I need you to move back in. Please.'

John stood rooted in place. Sherlock was practically begging him to come back. He wanted John to come back because he missed him. He hadn't said it outright, but John knew that was what he meant. He smiled softly and moved over to Sherlock, kneeling down and reaching out to squeeze his arm.

'I would love to move back in,' he said. Sherlock perked up and smiled brightly.

'Really?'

'Yes. Really. I think it's time we became proper partners again.'

'When can you move in?'

'This weekend? I'm off work Saturday, and I can start moving my things back today or tomorrow. Just bits at a time. So I should be able to move in fully by Sunday.'

'Good. It'll be good to have you back.'

'Yeah. It'll be good to be near you too in case you have a bad episode.'

'That too. But also so we can work cases more efficiently. So we won't have to show up in two different cabs. We'll save money that way.'

John chuckled and nodded. 'Yeah. Sure. Whatever you say, Sherlock. I have to go back to work. I'll probably stop by with some of my things later.'

'OK. I'll see you then.'

John squeezed Sherlock's arm again before he left. Sherlock watched him from the sitting room window, stupidly happy smiles on both their faces.

...::-::...

John moved his books in first. His laptop was next. Sherlock used it more than he did anyway. Over the weekend he boxed what remained of what little possessions he had and officially moved back into Baker Street. He gave his keys to his landlord and he never looked back.

Life with Sherlock was as hectic and frustrating as he remembered, but he wouldn't have traded it for the world. They were finally back under the same roof, their unbreakable partnership growing stronger and stronger as the months went on. John started blogging again, Sherlock started new experiments in the kitchen, and they worked and solved cases, sometimes not sleeping for days. It was so good to be back.

After they'd been back together for a few months Sherlock started getting restless. He'd pace the floor, mutter quietly to himself, and dismiss John's concerns. Sherlock would sometimes lock himself away in his room for days during a lull in cases. John worried his PTSD was worsening, but he would always be his moody, crabby, rude self whenever John came back from work. So if it wasn't his PTSD, what was bothering Sherlock?

For months Sherlock had been trying to ignore the feeling in his gut every time John did something brilliant or appreciated his genius or was just in the same damn room. What the hell was happening?

He would lock himself in his room to think about what was going on with his body, scouring the Internet for answers. It wasn't until he decided to ignore Web MD and just ask Google what was going on. He got typical answers of the cold or the flu or sometimes even the odd cancerous tumor growing in his stomach, but he knew he didn't have cancer. The Internet was a ridiculous place. It wasn't until he found an article titled "How to tell an Illness from an Emotion" and clicked on it. According to the article, he wasn't ill at all... He was in love. Sherlock felt the blood drain out of his face and he swallowed thickly. Love? Was that what this was? Was he in love with John Watson?

It took Sherlock another month to come to the conclusion that he was utterly, hopelessly, and irrevocably in love with John. The realisation hit him like a ton of bricks. As cliché as it was, it was exactly what it felt like. His chest felt tight, he struggled for breath, and he felt completely weighed down. It was a good thing he was in bed when the realisation hit. He would have hated to collapse on the floor and cause John to panic. This way it looked like he was being his usual lazy self.

John didn't think anything of it when he didn't see Sherlock when he came down to get ready for work. They'd solved a rather good case a couple days ago and Sherlock had probably finally collapsed in exhaustion. He made himself tea and toast before heading out.

Sherlock stayed in bed and thought. Mostly about John and how he had been lucky to meet him all those years ago. Stamford was a bloody brilliant matchmaker, even if the matchmaking had been unintentional. Or had it? It was a mystery for another day because right now Sherlock had to figure out how to woo John.

After a few hours he came up with a plan, but he had to wait for the right moment. He knew a lull in cases was coming soon, they usually did after high-paced cases like the one they'd just solved. So after a few days he'd put his plan into motion.

John didn't suspect anything when the optimal time for Sherlock's plan finally rolled around. Just as he'd predicted, a dreadful lull between cases happened and he dragged out his misery as long as he could. John merely shook his head and gave him practical suggestions on how to 'cure' his boredom, all of which Sherlock ignored. Finally John went to work and Sherlock sprang into action.

Step 1: tidy flat

John always did the cleaning, so Sherlock knew he would appreciate a break from it. He did his best organising the desk in the sitting room and fixing the test tubes he had on the kitchen table. Then, with great difficulty, he began clearing out old, forgotten, or abandoned experiments out of the fridge. He put them all in the special biohazard bags John had bought and called Bart's morgue to have someone pick them up and dispose them properly. He didn't want to get fined for putting them in the recycling again.

Step 2: Surprise John at work and take him out to lunch

By the time Sherlock was done cleaning it was nearly time for John's lunch break. He cleaned himself up first before hailing a cab and going to the surgery. John was going to be so shocked. He couldn't wait to see the look on his face.

John heard a soft knock on his door. He looked up from the paperwork he was filling out and raised a questioning eyebrow. Who was that? He wasn't expecting another patient.

'Um... Come in?' he said hesitantly. He blinked in shock when he saw Sherlock come in.

'Is that how you greet all your patients?' Sherlock chuckled. 'With a question and a shocked stare?'

'What are you doing here?' John asked without hesitation. 'I thought you'd be at the flat sulking all day?'

'Yeah, well, I thought coming here was preferable to blowing up the flat. Which I was on the verge of doing.'

'Ah. Well. Yes. Good,' John stammered. 'Um... Any particular reason why you came here?'

'Well, I knew your lunch break was coming up soon so I thought you might like some company.'

'Oh. Wow. Really?'

'Yes. Is that so hard to believe?'

'A little bit, yeah.'

Sherlock chuckled and shook his head. 'Come on. I found an interesting place on the way here I think we should try.'

'Um... Alright. I'm not expecting another patient until two, so I might be able to stay out a little later. I'll run it by Sarah and then meet you outside.'

Sherlock nodded and left, waiting for John outside the main doors. John met him a few minutes later, saying Sarah had granted him an extra half hour, but if he was needed for a consultation he was to return immediately. Sherlock nodded in understanding and lead John to the quaint little sandwich shop he'd found when scouring the Internet.

'Wow. This is nice,' John said when they arrived. 'You know, I've passed by this place loads of times but never stopped in.'

'Really?' Sherlock feigned surprise. He knew about the shop. Had heard John talking about it numerous times and how he wanted to visit it but never did. He'd forgotten about it until he'd stumbled across it online. It was perfect.

'Yeah. Thanks for finally getting me here.' He smirked knowingly and moved forward to look at the menu. Sherlock flushed slightly before composing himself. He ordered a small lunch and sat at a table with John while they waited for their food.

Step 3: have a secret lunch date with John (and make it a good one)

Sherlock asked all the right questions, probing John about his day and listening intently. John smiled brightly and talked animatedly, his hands waving around to emphasise his points. Sherlock smiled back and briefly wondered if they looked like a normal couple to passers-by.

Apparently they did because Sherlock briefly caught the eye of a young woman. She was smiling at them, her gaze soft and her face open. She clearly wanted a relationship like they had. Sherlock smiled at her encouragingly and she flushed, embarrassed at being caught. She turned away and Sherlock turned back to John, listening to his story.

Finally 1:30 rolled around and John had to return to work. He thanked Sherlock for the wonderful break from work and waved as he walked back to the surgery. Sherlock hailed a cab and went to Tesco's. On to the next step of his master plan.

Step 4: buy groceries... and milk

Sherlock grabbed a trolley and scoured the aisles of Tesco's grocery section, grabbing John's favourites as well as the few things he actually liked to eat. He bought John's favoured bottle of wine as well. It would go great with his typical Chinese takeaway order. He also made sure to buy three gallons of milk to really shock John. He paid for all the groceries and hailed another cab, heading back to Baler Street to give John the shock of his life.

Step 5: have dinner ready and a (romantic) fire going when John comes home

When John arrived home after work he was dead tired and his back was sore from being hunched over his desk for most of the day. He trudged upstairs, smiling when he smelt the takeaway Sherlock had ordered.

'Thank god you ordered dinner. I'm starving.'

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the sitting room. Not only was it clean, but Sherlock had set their chairs a bit closer to the fireplace and had a table with dinner and wine set on it. Sherlock came out of his bedroom and smiled warmly at John.

'Sherlock?' John surveyed the room and his jaw dropped.

'Do you like it?' Sherlock asked softly, his hands wringing nervously in front of his stomach.

'I... What? You cleaned?'

'Yes. I figured you might want a break from the cleaning. Especially when your back is always so sore after work. And I ordered dinner as well.'

'I can see that,' John said dumbly, his brain still processing what Sherlock had done. 'It's... Amazing.'

'Really?' Sherlock raised an eyebrow at John.

'Yes.' John finally turned to look at Sherlock and smiled. 'It's absolutely wonderful.'

Sherlock grinned and gestured to John's chair. 'Take a seat and eat. You look dead on your feet.'

John laughed at the unintentional rhyme and sat in his chair. The fire was warm but not too hot it made him feel sweaty or weighed down by his jumper. The food smelled absolutely amazing as well. He grabbed the glass of wine and took a quick sniff before taking a sip. He hummed and took a larger sip. It was his favourite wine. Sometimes it shocked him how well Sherlock knew him. Almost better than he knew himself.

Sherlock sat in his own seat and ate his dinner slowly, making sure John was enjoying his before he moved to the final step of his plan.

Step 6, the last step: eat dinner and tell John about your feelings. You can do it!

Sherlock waited until John finished eating before he tried to muster the courage to speak. But John looked so comfortable and relaxed he didn't want to spoil it with emotions. So he waited for the opportune moment to present himself, giving himself time to relax.

Unfortunately, the longer he waited, the more nervous he became. His leg began to bounce, his fingers tapped a random tune that turned into his favourite Bach piece, and he began fidgeting in his seat. John noticed and frowned in concern. He put his wine glass down and opened his mouth to say something, but Sherlock beat him to the punch.

'Before you ask,' he said, a small quiver in his voice, 'no, I'm not OK. I'm nervous as hell and I don't know why and yet I do.'

'Sherlock,' John said softly. 'What's going on?'

'I... John, I...' Sherlock's voice caught in his throat and he couldn't speak. Why did emotions have to be so difficult to convey?

'Sherlock? What's wrong? You're worrying me.'

'I... I have... I...' Sherlock stammered.

'Oh god.' John paled, fearing the worst.

'I have nothing like what you're thinking,' Sherlock said. 'I'm not ill... Though I suppose I am in a sense.'

'For god's sake, Sherlock. Just spit it out!'

'I have feelings for you,' Sherlock blurted. John blinked and pulled back.

'What?'

'You heard me perfectly,' Sherlock stated. 'I have... well, feelings is a very poor term for how I feel. I... This afternoon was supposed to be a date. I thought it might help me later when this time came. I didn't want it to be obvious it was a date but I wanted it to feel like a date, you know?'

'When you came to take me out to lunch... That was a date?' John asked softly.

'Yes.' Sherlock flushed and looked away. 'Was it really that terrible?'

'No. It was a great date.' Sherlock looked up in surprise to see John grinning at him.

'It... It was?'

'Yes.'

'Oh. Well, in that case, was dinner a good date too?'

'Yes. It was a great date.'

Sherlock flushed and looked down at his shoes.

'What did you mean when you said feelings was a poor term for how you felt?'

Sherlock looked up and blushed for an entirely different reason.

'I meant that it wasn't the correct term because it doesn't convey all I feel for you,' he said softly.

'And what do you feel for me?' John asked. Sherlock swallowed and looked at John sheepishly.

'I... I think I love you,' he choked out. John's breath caught in his throat and he stared at Sherlock.

'You love me?' he asked, his voice cracking.

'Yes. With every fibre of my being.'

'Finally!' Sherlock looked shocked. 'It's about time! Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting for you? Excluding the time you were away?'

'Um... No.'

John stood and pulled Sherlock to his feet, clasping his hands securely.

'Since I shot that damn cabbie.'

'Oh.' Sherlock smiled down at John. 'So you love me too?'

'Yes. I've loved you since the start, Sherlock.'

'This is where we kiss, right?'

'Yes. This is where we kiss.'

Sherlock grinned and pulled John close, the older man laughing softly. He grabbed the lapels of John's shirt and pulled him up onto his toes, making John laugh again.

'Bloody giraffe,' he snickered. Sherlock merely grinned before pressing his lips to John's in a chaste kiss. John gasped and his hands found Sherlock's shirt and grabbed him tight. Sherlock hummed into the kiss and wrapped his arms around John's waist. John's hands shot up into Sherlock's curls and tangled there, pulling him down and deepening their kiss. Sherlock gasped, his lips parting slightly, and John took the opportunity and tentatively stuck his tongue inside Sherlock's mouth. The younger man shivered and his own tongue came out to cautiously tangle with John's.

They stood there for ages, snogging in front of the fire, their hands roaming over their bodies and undoing buttons and sliding up underneath their tops. They didn't pull away until the fire waned and they began to shiver.

'It's getting late,' John whispered. 'Shall we go to bed?'

'Sure,' Sherlock mumbled. 'Though I want to keep on kissing you.'

'We can kiss in bed,' John said. 'Come on. Let's get beneath the warm covers and we can snog some more.'

Sherlock nodded and let John lead him back to bed. He let John borrow one of his pyjama tops for the night as he didn't want him to go upstairs to get one of his own. And he rather liked seeing John in his clothes. John waited for Sherlock to get dressed before climbing in beside him.

'No trousers?' Sherlock asked.

'I usually sleep in a shirt and my pants,' John said. 'Don't act like you don't know.'

Sherlock smiled and shifted closer to John, their legs tangling together.

'Did you do anything else for me today?' John asked, grasping Sherlock's hand and twining their fingers together.

'Yes,' Sherlock hummed. 'I did the shopping. I even bought milk.'

'You bought milk?' John laughed and kissed the tip of Sherlock's nose. 'You really do love me.'

'Yes, I do.'

'Good. Because I love you too.'

Sherlock smiled and kissed John softly. They curled together, kissing languidly as they slowly fell asleep in each other's arms. John was snuggling Sherlock's chest, Sherlock wrapped protectively around him, his chin resting on John's head. Both men had the most restful sleep they'd had in ages. No nightmares, no restlessness, just complete calm and relaxation.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

...::-::...

Things carried on normally after that night. The only difference was only one bedroom was needed at 221B Baker Street these days. John had moved in the day after their love confessions and his old bedroom was turned into a bit more proper lab for Sherlock to use. They bought new fridges, one for Sherlock's experiments upstairs and the other for food in the kitchen (to be kept sanitary at all times). Sherlock bought some better equipment as well and always warned John when he would be experimenting through the night so John wouldn't worry about him. It was those nights when John would pull out the body pillow he'd bought to curl up with on those lonely nights. Sometimes he'd put one of Sherlock's shirts on it so it would smell like him. While Sherlock found the pillow slightly off-putting, he was glad John had found a way to sleep during the nights he wasn't there.

They took things slowly, not wanting to push through the boundaries of their friendship too quickly. It started with John moving his things into Sherlock's bedroom and bathroom. Then came sharing the shower. That was when John first saw the scars Sherlock had gotten during his time away. Some looked like deep gashes from knives, others were clearly bullet wounds, and there were some spots on his chest that lined up with his ribs, indicating they'd not only been broken but had broken through the skin. Sherlock hadn't wanted to make a big deal out of it, but John told him his scars were nothing to be ashamed of. They were symbols of his strength. Of times when he could have died but had persevered. He'd survived. Sherlock kissed him hard, hugging John to him tightly as they snogged in the shower. They discussed scars and battle wounds that night until Sherlock fell asleep, his head pillowed by John's wounded shoulder.

Their relationship moved steadily on from there. They didn't even have to make a proper announcement about their becoming a couple. It must have been written all over their faces or something because almost as soon as they arrived at their first crime scene Lestrade burst out in applause and a few other Yarders joined in. Only Donovan and Anderson remained silent and scowled at them. They would later find out from Greg that it was the glow about them that only new couples had in the honeymoon stage of their relationship. John had laughed and dismissed it; Sherlock appeared to ignore it altogether. That was until they got home.

Sherlock sat John down and sat on his lap, curling around him like a child would. He told John about his insecurities about being in a relationship as he'd never been in a proper one before and he didn't want people thinking someone's heart was going to be broken. He talked about his parents' divorce and how he had been resolved to never let anyone close to his heart for fear of feeling the horrible sensation of being ripped in two. He told John he was scared he'd do something unforgivable and John would leave him and he'd die alone as he always expected he would. Sherlock poured his heart out to John, and John held Sherlock comfortingly and listened.

When Sherlock finished speaking John assured him that the only unforgivable thing he could do was kill someone in cold blood, that he would never leave him, and if he did he was a massive idiot who needed to get his head checked. Sherlock had chuckled and nuzzled John's chest. They kissed languidly in bed that night, Sherlock falling into a deep sleep even though he was on a case.


When they'd been dating a few months, and had even gone on actual dates as John said crime scenes didn't count, Sherlock felt a shift in their relationship. It wasn't a bad shift, but it was one that scared Sherlock witless.

John now wanted sex. Sherlock knew because John woke up hard every morning and would sometimes get hard when they had chased down a criminal or Sherlock had been especially brilliant.

But Sherlock was, to put it mildly, an awkward shag. He was by no means a virgin, he'd experimented in uni just like everyone else, but it had been years since he'd last had sex with another person. Masturbation was one thing, but sexual contact with another person? After all that time? He felt virginal again. He didn't dare tell John for fear of being laughed at or worse, pitied.

He tried to avoid the subject as best he could, ignoring the situation completely if he could feel John's erection in the morning or see it straining in his jeans when they were out solving crimes. John didn't let it bother him too much. He knew Sherlock would need time to adjust to being in a relationship. And adding the dynamic of sex into theirs was a major step for them both. But it bothered him that Sherlock showed no sign of sexual interest at all. So, John being John, he decided to ask him about it straight forward.

'Hey, Sherlock?' he said during dinner. 'Can I ask you something?'

'I believe you just did, but sure.' Sherlock smirked around a mouthful of stir fry.

'Smartass, ' John chuckled. 'I want to know something, and I want you to answer honestly.'

'OK.' Sherlock put down his fork and waited patiently. 'What do you want to know?'

'Will you ever want to have sex with me?'

Sherlock swallowed and continued to stare at John. He couldn't give his traditional answer of 'I don't know,' even though he really didn't know, but he knew John was expecting a yes or no answer. He swallowed again and averted his gaze as he thought about his answer. John waited patiently, the only sign of his nerves was the tapping of his foot on the floor.

'I would very much like to engage in intercourse with you,' Sherlock said after a few moments of deliberation. 'It's just been a very long time since I last had intercourse and... don't laugh, but I'm afraid I'll be a terrible shag.'

John didn't laugh. Instead he nodded and grasped Sherlock's hands.

'That's fine,' he said. 'I'm nervous too. I've never had sex with a man before and I don't want to ruin anything or hurt you.'

'You could never hurt me, John.'

'Not on purpose,' John said softly. 'But you know what I mean.'

'I do, but I still believe you could never hurt me.'

John chuckled and released Sherlock's hands, planning on getting back to dinner.

'So when shall we do it?' Sherlock asked. John looked up in surprise.

'Do what?'

'Have sex of course.'

'Sherlock, sex isn't something you plan,' John groaned.

'But we have to plan ahead,' Sherlock protested. 'Buy supplies, get tested, things like that.'

'Tested? Why should we be tested?'

'It's not that I don't trust you to be clean, but I just want to be safe so we won't have to buy condoms.'

'Oh.' John swallowed. 'So... you want to have unprotected sex?'

'Yes. I'd rather not have a piece of latex between us when we finally have sex.'

'Oh. OK. I guess that makes sense.'

'We should get tested as soon as possible,' Sherlock said, pulling out his phone. 'And we should stock up on lube.'

'Um... OK.' John pushed his food away and stood from the table. Sherlock didn't look up from his phone when John walked out to the sitting room and sat in his chair. It took Sherlock ten whole minutes took realise John was gone. He looked up from his phone and saw John sitting in his chair. He frowned and put his phone on the table, walking over to John slowly.

'Not good?' he asked.

'Bit not good, yeah,' John grumbled. Sherlock knelt by John and clasped his hands.

'I'm sorry,' he apologised. 'It's been a while since I've done this. And you know I'm not very... personal when it comes to things like this. So why don't you take care of things? I trust you.'

'Because I'm the experienced one in the relationship?' John scoffed.

'Yes. But also because you're a doctor.' John scoffed again but nodded.

'Yeah. Sure. I'll set up an appointment tomorrow. Right now I just want to enjoy dinner and watch some crap telly before I go bed.'

'Sounds great. Though I might stay up and play my violin a bit.'

'Just so long as you don't stay up too late,' John bargained.

'In bed by 2 a.m.?'

'Yep.'

'Alright. Love you.'

'Love you too.'


Sherlock still felt guilty, a recently new feeling to him, for what he'd done when he woke up in the morning, so he got up before John and made him breakfast. John stumbled out of bed, only wearing one of Sherlock's oversized t-shirts and his boxers, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He grinned when he saw the food waiting for him and pecked Sherlock on the lips in thanks. He'd already forgiven the man, but it was nice to see him apologise.

The next month they spent 'preparing' to have sex. They got themselves tested, bought condoms just in case, and got a few bottles of lube to be on the safe side. When they were both given a clean bill of health, that was when things got real.

They were both still too nervous to actually go about having sex. John didn't want it to be so impersonal since Sherlock said he hadn't done the deed in quite a while. John, the sentimental fool he was, wanted it to be romantic. So he bought candles, unscented, and lit them throughout the flat, mostly in the bedroom. He also prepared a romantic meal and had Sherlock's favourite symphonies playing over the stereo. Now he only had to wait for Sherlock to return from Bart's and he could set his plan in motion.

He didn't have to wait long. Sherlock returned a few minutes later and the stunned look on his face settled John's nerves a bit.

'Don't say anything,' he said when Sherlock opened his mouth to speak. 'Just enjoy the moment.' Sherlock smiled and kissed John softly. They sat at the table and enjoyed the delicious meal John had prepared, talking idly about their days and what Sherlock had been doing at Bart's. It had something to do with kidneys, but John wasn't really paying attention because he didn't want to spoil his dinner. He could deal with the human body whilst at work, but he wanted it to stay there unless it was pertinent to a case. He let Sherlock talk anyway, nodding and prompting him to continue in all the right places.

When they finished dinner, John poured them both a glass of wine and they sat in front of the fire, listening to the classical music as they drank. Sherlock knew this was going to be a prelude to sex, but he didn't let it deter him from enjoying John's cooking. He wished John would cook more often, but they lived a pretty sporadic and on-the-go lifestyle, so they stuck with takeaway. It wasn't all bad though. It just meant that when John did have time to cook it was a special treat.

After a few moments of comfortable silence, John decided it had been long enough and it was time to get to the main event. He finished his wine and stood up, holding a hand out to Sherlock.

'Shall we adjourn to the bedroom?'

Sherlock smiled and accepted the hand. He finished his own wine before standing and pulling John into a deep kiss.

'Yes,' he murmured when he pulled away. 'We shall.'

John let out a breathy laugh and pulled Sherlock to the bedroom, kissing him all the while. Their shirts had been removed and trousers undone by the time they dropped onto the bed, their hands roving all over their bodies. John was the first to pull away, his hand resting at the top of Sherlock's pants.

'I've given this quite a bit of thought,' he said softly, his fingers caressing the soft skin above Sherlock's groin. 'So don't think I'm making a rash decision without thinking of other options. I... I want you to be the one to penetrate me. I've never had anal sex with a man before, but I'm assuming you have?' He looked up at Sherlock and Sherlock nodded minutely. 'Right. So of the two of us, you have the most experience. So I want you to do the love making tonight.'

Sherlock nodded and kissed John softly, his hands cradling his lover's head.

'I love you,' he whispered against John's lips.

'I love you too. Now take the rest of my clothes off so we can start.' Sherlock chuckled and did as John asked. He took his jeans and pants off and tossed them behind him. He was glad they hadn't been wearing their shoes. If he remembered correctly, they were a bitch to take off in the throes of passion. His own trousers and pants joined John's on the floor and soon they were kissing again, John steadily moving back toward the headboard so they wouldn't be half on and half off the bed when the love making started. Sherlock grabbed a tube of lube from the nightstand drawer and popped open the cap. John sucked in a nervous breath. Sherlock paused.

'Don't stop,' John said softly. 'I'll be fine. I trust you. Please keep going.'

Sherlock sighed but nodded. His kissed John slowly at first, wanting him to be relaxed. He swirled his slick fingers around John's puckered hole, wanting John to know his fingers were there before he slowly pressed inside.

John gasped and squeezed his eyes shut. It didn't feel bad per say, but it was weird and felt strange having something up his arse. Sherlock gave John some time to adjust before he pushed in further. John hissed slightly but made no move to stop Sherlock's actions. Sherlock pushed until his finger was in almost knuckle deep. He gently moved it back and forth and side to side to get John to stretch around him.

'How's it feel?' Sherlock whispered.

'Weird,' John grit out.

'Good weird or bad weird?'

'I dunno. Just... keep going but go slow.'

'Alright.' Sherlock slid down John's body so he could see what he was doing. He eased his first finger out and gently pushed two against John. He groaned and pushed back slightly. Sherlock took that as a good sign. He eased the two fingers inside and curled them when he was knuckle deep. John gasped and moaned when Sherlock found his prostate.

'There,' he gasped. 'Fuck. Right there.'

Sherlock chuckled and probed the spot again. John let out a noise akin to a high-pitched whine. Sherlock dared to lick John's bollocks and up his shaft. He loved John's reaction. The older man swore loudly and cried Sherlock's name. Sherlock used the opportunity to insert one more finger. John barely noticed.

'Are you ready now?' Sherlock asked, his voice a couple octaves deeper from arousal.

'Yes,' John moaned. 'I'm ready. I need you inside me.'

'All in good time, John,' Sherlock said. He removed his fingers and applied more lube to his cock and around John's hole. 'I don't want to hurt you.'

'You could never hurt me,' John whispered. 'Just enter me and we'll go from there.'

'OK.' Sherlock gripped his cock and loomed over John's body. He leant down and kissed John as he pushed in, John's tight heat enveloping him and sucking him in. Both men moaned and shuddered, breaking the kiss as Sherlock bottomed out.

'Holy shit,' John gasped.

'My god,' Sherlock groaned. They stayed in that position for a few moments as they adjusted to one another.

Finally, John groaned, 'Move.' So Sherlock did. He pulled out slowly until just the head of his cock was inside and then he slammed back in, his hips smacking John's bum. John shrieked and demanded he do it again. So Sherlock did. Repeatedly. He slammed into John again and again and again, their bodies moving together as one, their sweat mixing with one another's, their breaths being stolen as they snogged passionately.

Sherlock slowed down and began making love to John rather than fucking him. He didn't want their first time to be a quick, rough fuck. He wanted it to last longer than that. John's hands tangled in his hair as he pulled him down for another kiss.

'I love you,' he whispered. 'I love you so much.'

'I love you too,' Sherlock whispered back. He slid an arm under the small of John's back to support him. The other hand grasped his cock and began stroking him in time with his thrusts. John whined and threw his head back, his hands sliding down Sherlock's back (avoiding his ticklish ribs) to rest on his ample bum. He squeezed and pulled Sherlock in deeper. The younger man groaned and thrust quickly but shallowly into John, making sure to hit his prostate as often as he could. John gave little moans of encouragement.

'Yes. Right there. Fuck! Don't stop! Oh god! Sherlock! I'm gonna—'

'Me too, John,' Sherlock groaned out. 'Oh fuck. Me too.'

John cried Sherlock's name as he came, his back arching off the bed almost completely. His cum spurt between their bellies, coating most of Sherlock's hand. Sherlock groaned when John squeezed tight around him, causing his own orgasm to begin. He moaned John's name into his lover's hair, his body shuddering as he came hard. They collapsed onto the mattress in a sweaty heap, their breaths ragged. John carded his fingers through Sherlock's curls, humming as he calmed down. Sherlock hummed too and nuzzled John's chest, wiping his hand off on the flannel that had been hung on the headboard.

'That... was amazing,' John said between breaths.

'Was it?' Sherlock asked with a smirk.

'Of course it was. It was extraordinary. It was quite... extraordinary.'

They laughed as they quoted themselves.

'That was my first deduction,' John said.

'That was my first compliment,' Sherlock mumbled.

'Really?' John frowned and looked up at Sherlock.

'Sort of. It was the first time my deductions were... appreciated outside of The Work,' Sherlock clarified.

'Ah.' John stretched out his legs and groaned. 'You should probably pull out now.' Sherlock did and he rested along John's side.

'You were the first person to truly appreciate my deductions. And my genius,' Sherlock said softly. John frowned and turned to face Sherlock.

'I'm sorry no one realised your brilliance before I did. But then again I'm not. Because I was the first to appreciate you for who you are, and that makes me feel special and privileged.'

Sherlock chuckled and kissed John softly, humming into the kiss.

'I'm glad you were the first,' he whispered. 'Because it was what made me want you for a flatmate. You liked me even on my more annoying days. You didn't tolerate me or put up with me. You genuinely liked being around me and living with me, even when I tried your patience. I love you so much because you love me for me. And you're a handsome doctor to boot.'

John laughed and kissed Sherlock again.

'I've you because you bring excitement to my life. I love you because you "cured" my psychosomatic limp. I love you because you give my life purpose again. You gave me a reason to live. You saved me without even knowing it. And for that, I will always love you.'

Sherlock smiled and kissed John again. They settled down in bed, cuddled together, and drifted off to sleep.

'Hey, John?'

'Hrm?'

'Can I suck you off next time?'

'Sure. Might as well teach me how to do it too. I'm gonna need to know how.'

'Sure.' Sherlock yawned widely before settling back down. 'Goodnight, John.'

'Goodnight, Sherlock.'

'I love you.'

'I love you, too.'


Well there you have it! I hope you all liked it. I really enjoyed this challenge and I hope to participate in more in the future.

I hope this makes up for the horrible FT&PD chapter that was posted earlier today.

Bye everyone! I hope you have a great weekend!

~TSA